British Columbia bar and restaurant owners frustrated by high cost of liquor

Published November 2, 2015

November 2, 2015, VICTORIA – British Columbia deserves credit for modernizing and streamlining liquor laws, but licensees are still forced to buy their beer, wine and spirits from the government’s liquor monopoly at full retail prices.

The result is a C+ grade in Restaurants Canada’s first-ever Raise the Bar report card on provincial liquor policies.

“British Columbia’s C+ grade recognizes progress on modernizing liquor laws, but product price and selection for licensees prevented B.C. from achieving a better grade. British Columbia could improve their grade in 2016 by offering licensees a wholesale price discount and the option to purchase liquor products from private retailers,” says Mark von Schellwitz, Vice-President Western Canada for Restaurants Canada. “These grades are a sign of how much – or how little – provincial governments support the small business owners that operate restaurants and bars in communities across Canada.”

The Raise the Bar report card is the by-product of a survey of Canada’s restaurant and bar owners who are frustrated with provincial regulations that control the cost and distribution of the alcoholic beverages they provide to customers.

Close to all (97%) surveyed members of Restaurants Canada want to see wholesale pricing for the products they sell in their establishments, and 72% believe the cost of purchasing their product (often from liquor distribution monopolies) hinders their ability to do business. Less than a third (30%) say they receive value from their local liquor or beer supplier.

The full report card results are available here.

Restaurants Canada is a growing community of 30,000 foodservice businesses, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and suppliers. We connect our members from coast to coast, through services, research and advocacy for a strong and vibrant restaurant industry. Canada’s restaurant industry directly employs 1.2 million Canadians, is the number one source of first jobs, and serves 18 million customers every day.


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